Liberal Democrat MP, Andrew George, challenged the Prime Minister in the Commons to be consistent in his policy to apply a benefits cap.
Mr George urged the PM to cap payments to wealthy landowners.
Mr George asked the Prime Minister: “Of course, any Government should seek to introduce a reasonable cap on very high claims for tax payer funded benefits. But if ‘we’re all in it together’, why is the Government resisting the introduction of a cap on the payment of hundreds of thousands of pounds – and in some individual cases of a million pounds – of tax payer funded benefits to the largest and wealthiest landowners in the country through the farm support system?”
The PM declined to explain the Government’s resistance.
Mr George said: “If the Government wants to be consistent then they should also apply a cap on tax payer funded payments to large and wealthy landowners. I have been pressing the Environment Secretary on this matter and will continue to argue that farm support should be directed at the most marginal commercial farm holdings and not those large farmers who do not need the money.”
Facts and figures:
Budget 2013 estimated that the household benefit cap introduced this week will save £110 million in 2013-14, and £185 million in each of the four subsequent years.
A cap on Single Farm Payments above £300,000* would save around £60 million.
A cap on Single Farm Payments above £100,000 would save around £300 million.
A cap on Single Farm Payments above £26,000 would save over £1 billion.
Andrew’s question to the Prime Minister and the PM’s response from Hansard:
Andrew George (St Ives) (LD): Any Government should of course be able to introduce a reasonable cap on very high claims for taxpayer-funded benefits. However, if we are all in it together, why are the Government resisting the introduction of a cap on the taxpayer-funded benefits amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds and, in some individual cases, more than £1 million that go to the largest and wealthiest landowners in the country through the farm support system?
The Prime Minister: This Government have done a huge amount on tax reform to ensure that people pay the taxes they owe. Of course, we always look at the common agricultural policy to make sure that it is fair.